The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has assured providers that it has a contingency plan after the Hub suffered the latest in a series of breakdowns.

The online data collection system failed on Monday (January 5) — less than 48 hours before the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) R05 (fifth return of the academic year) deadline. Among the problems suffered by the Hub have been breakdowns in August for R12, September for R13 and December for R14.

And complaints about the latest breakdown were posted on the SFA’s Feconnect online forum and one disgruntled user called for an extension to the deadline, which was not granted by the SFA.

An SFA spokesperson told FE Week: “We have a contingency plan in place which we will invoke if we experience sustained problems with our data collection systems.

“We will inform providers of the move to the contingency plan through existing SFA communication channels.”

She added channels would include the regular SFA Updates,, Twitter (@sfadata, @skillsfunding) and Feconnect.

The SFA initially kept the old online data collection (OLDC) system running alongside the Hub, after its launch in July, encouraging providers to submit returns through both systems.

However, the OLDC was shut down at the end of October prompting sector concern, reported by FE Week in November, that there was no back-up plan if the Hub broke down.